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2010-UP-240 - SCDSS v. Zermina P.

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

South Carolina Department of Social Services, Respondent,

 

   v.

Zermina P., Michael P., and Eloise P., Defendants,

Of Whom Eloise P. is the Appellant.

In the interest of one minor child under the age of 18.


Appeal From Chesterfield County
Roger E. Henderson, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-240
Submitted March 1, 2010 – Filed April 14, 2010


AFFIRMED


Rowland P. Alston, III, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Elizabeth B. York, of Chesterfield, for Respondent.

Linda Amason, of Columbia, Guardian Ad Litem for Eloise P.

PER CURIAM:  Eloise P. (Grandmother) appeals from the family court's order denying her Rule 59, SCRCP motion to alter/amend the judgment and motion for rehearing of the family court's January 18, 2008 permanency planning order.  We affirm.[1]

On appeal, Grandmother contends: (1) the evidence did not support the family court's finding that reunification with her was no longer a viable permanent plan for Child; and (2) the family court erred in denying her motion for rehearing because Child's guardian ad litem (GAL) did not perform her duties as mandated by the statutory and common law.  We disagree. 

"In appeals from the family court, the appellate court has the authority to find the facts in accordance with its view of the preponderance of the evidence."  Ex parte Morris, 367 S.C. 56, 61, 624 S.E.2d 649, 652 (2006).  "This broad scope of review does not, however, require the appellate court to disregard the findings of the family court."  Id.  "This degree of deference is especially true in cases involving the welfare and best interests of a minor child."  Id. at 62, 624 S.E.2d at 652.       

1.  Regarding Grandmother's argument for reunification with Child, we find the family court correctly denied Grandmother's Rule 59, SCRCP motion to alter/amend the judgment because a preponderance of the evidence supports the family court's finding that reunification with Grandmother was not a viable permanent plan for Child.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1700(C) (2008) ("If the [family] court approves a plan that is not reunification with the parents, custody or guardianship with a fit and willing relative, or termination of parental rights, the [family] court must find compelling reasons for approval of the plan and that the plan is in the child's best interests.").  Here, compelling reasons supported the family court's approval of the permanent plan to terminate reunification services for Grandmother and proceed with termination of Mother and Father's parental rights (TPR).  Grandmother is not able to care for Child at the current time.  Terminating reunification services and proceeding with TPR is also in the Child's best interest.  No viable family members are able to care for Child.  In comparison, Child is thriving in the care of her current foster care family, and the foster care parents have indicated a willingness to adopt Child.    

2.  Regarding Grandmother's argument that Child's GAL did not perform her duties as mandated by the statutory and common law, we find the family court acted within its discretion in denying Grandmother's Rule 59, SCRCP, motion for rehearing.  Sufficient evidence in the record supports the family court's ruling on the Rule 59 motion based on the best interests of Child.  Additionally, this issue is not preserved for our review because Grandmother raised this issue for the first time in her Rule 59 motion.  See Dixon v. Dixon, 362 S.C. 388, 399, 608 S.E.2d 849, 854 (2005) (holding an issue raised for the first time in a Rule 59 motion is not preserved for appellate review); S.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Basnight, 346 S.C. 241, 252, 551 S.E.2d 274, 280 (Ct. App. 2001) (holding issues not raised to or ruled upon by the family court should not be considered by the appellate court for review).

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., PIEPER, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur. 


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.